Written by Charles Staky
Before buying into a business, an entrepreneur has to ask themselves a few questions. What industry do they have experience in? What industry are they interested in? Where do they want to start their roots? Do they want to buy into a franchise system or make a name for themselves? One question that can have the largest impact, however, is if they want to involve a partner?
A partner can alleviate a lot of stress for a business owner, but if they are not a good duo, a partner can also make the situation a nightmare. Entering into a business partnership is very similar to a marriage, once you sign the dotted line you are with them for better or worse, for richer or poorer. And breaking up can be very costly. You wouldn’t marry someone without getting to know them first, so the same time and effort should be put into getting to know your business partner.
The comparison of a business partnership to marriage, as cliché as it may be, holds true in the sense that once it is official you will be sharing finances, future planning, and your reputation with another person. If you don’t give ample time or thought to finding the right person for this, the partnership will not work out as you want it to. Before making the partnership official there are a few ways in which you should get to know your partner to make sure the two of you will be successful.
First and foremost you need to ask yourself what you are looking for in a business partner. Financial assistance, expertise in the field, or someone to share the workload, all are important traits to look for in a partner.
Entrepreneur.com recommends looking for a partner who brings something different to the table than you do, whether that be access to the market or a little creativity to balance out your detail-oriented work ethic. Your partner should add value to the relationship, preferably in areas that you may not have the most knowledge. If they don’t seem to bring something new and useful to the table, they may not be the best candidate.
Another detail you should look for in a potential partner is how they spend their money. While finances tend to be a touchy subject for most people, you will be sharing every financial responsibility with this parson, so you’ll want to know where they stand before giving them access to your checkbook.
“Someone who has hefty, outstanding financial obligations, an unreasonably low credit score, or is obviously living beyond their means is probably not someone you want to trust with the financials of a future business,” says icn.com in their article Know Your Business Partner Well. Very, Very Well.
You don’t want your future partner spending money you don’t have on things your business doesn’t need, and on the other hand, you don’t want someone who isn’t willing to spend necessary money to grow your business. You have a certain level of comfortability with how you would like to run your finances and it is important to find a partner who is respectful of that. After all, in this partnership you will be sharing the finances equally, weather you are splitting profit or paying off debt.
Long-term goals are also important. What do they want out of this partnership and the business? It is important to know that a potential partner is just as passionate in your venture as you are. If they’re working to achieve the same level of success as you, they will be willing to stick with it and work through the hard times, not just give up if the profit doesn’t flow in as expected.
The answers to all these questions are crucial to share with your potential partner before you can successfully run a business together. Honesty and communication are essential to building a relationship of any kind. In a formal partnership you will share everything, both good and bad, that comes out of your business and you will have to trust your partner is doing everything they can to pull their weight. You need to know how they will handle stressful situations and also how they will handle success. You will need to know everything about them because, let’s be honest, they will be one of the most important people in your life, hopefully long term.
At TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® we are lucky to have a number of franchisee partnerships who successfully make it work, including college fraternity brothers turned franchisees and those in business with their spouse.
“Since we have known each other, if we are going to put in effort at doing something, we are going to invest our entire effort into its success,” said multiunit franchisee Mark Snyir of his partnership with Chad Arnold. “Growing those professional bonds with like-minded people helps to develop and strengthen personal relationships with them.”
If you take the proper time to understand your potential partner and how they will handle the responsibilities of running a business, you can ensure they are the right fit. The last thing you want to do is get caught up in the excitement of your new business with the first person who shares your excitement, without knowing much about them. Time and communication is needed to build a strong relationship, and before you trust a potential partner completely, there should be no thought of entering a business partnership.
TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company. Let us move your career forward. Consider investing in us and becoming a franchisee today! Visit franchise.twomenandatruck.com to learn more.